MILPITAS, CA-The optical communications market appears to be coming back in a big and sustained way, according to JDSU senior VP of corporate marketing, Enzo Signore. The company drew about 80% of its business revenue last quarter directly or indirectly from a market for broadband access that grew about 11% last year.
The demand for broadband services is growing on all levels, Signore said. At the access level, more people are upgrading to broadband from dialup as the technology matures and price points come down. In addition, end-user demand is not just for high speed Internet but has expanded into a “triple play” that also includes voice over IP and downloading of videos. In addition there is a demand for exchanging bigger files. For instance, digital camera files can run 4 x 8 megapixels in size.
Metro network content has grown richer providing features such as video clips and news coverage, driven by content providers such as Google, Yahoo, MySBC.com, Disney.com, etc. Long haul is also growing after several years of decline.
Because change is taking place at a rapidly accelerating pace, there is a need to deploy equipment rapidly while minimizing operating expenses. So the industry is trending toward agile optical networks (AONs) that automate the process of adding bandwidth to the network, using computer software to add bandwidth remotely. The AON concept is about 5 years old, but only within the last year or so has the technology matured to the necessary levels in terms of performance and price points, Signore said. Three key components of this capability are reconfigurable optical add-drop mulitpliexers (ROADMs), tunable transponders, and optical amplifiers, Signore said.
ROADMs allow remote adding or dropping of wavelengths at specific nodes depending on need. Tunable transponders enable wavelength-specific signal switching from optical to electrical and vice versa. Optical amplifiers remotely adjust amplification level as necessary to compensate for dispersion on a fiber optic link. The JDSU planar lightwave circuit (PLC)-ROADM is an integrated waveguide device that-despite a relatively small footprint-can handle 32 or more channels. The tunable transponder technology was acquired with Agility Communications (Santa Barbara, CA) last fall.
With this rapidly growing market, JDSU is reshaping its portfolio. The company has evolved its business model beyond the direct optical communication space to also provide complete test and measurement solutions, particularly with the acquisition of Acterna (Germantown, MD) last year. JDSU recently broadened its test and measurement capability further with the acquisition of Test-um (Camarillo, CA) in May, to provide test equipment for home service.
Currently 40% of the JDSU business is optical communications and 40% is test and measurement, Signore said. The other components of the company, commercial lasers, optically variable pigments and custom optics make up the other 20%. Signore emphasized the fact that 80% of the company’s business last quarter was driven by broadband directly or indirectly and that the broadband market is likely to undergo strong and sustained growth. “A generation of youngsters who were born with broadband in their homes is growing up,” he said. “They will eventually come up with new applications that we can’t even think of now.” -HJ-B